Science - Science Science A body of knowledge (the word is...

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Unformatted text preview: Science Science A body of knowledge (the word is used this way, but it a very static concept) In three sentences or fewer define and describe science. A process of investigation: A single method? Merely common sense? Science The notion of scientific discovery is very difficult to capture and philosophers of science have wrestled with the problem for a long time. Philosophers of science used to try and tell scientists the way to conduct research. Today philosophers of science study how scientists actually do research. Some Basic Concepts & Terms Induction: Collect data (implicitly theoryInduction: theoryfree data) and then develop theory. Deduction: Know a scientific principle Deduction: (implicitly theory-dependent) and then theorycollect data to confirm (later corroborate) corroborate) it, and finally - falsify. falsify. Note Falsification and Confirmation are asymmetrical. One failure = falsification. Induction versus Deduction Philosophers of science have never liked induction because all observations are, in reality, theory-dependent. theoryDeduction requires that you already know the relevant theory, so how do you discover new things? Induction and deduction apply only to formal logic. Science is more than logic. Science = A Belief System Science is a belief system, much like religion with which it does not have to conflict. The discovery portion of science remains difficult to analyze and evaluate. But the justification part is more easily understood. 1 Justification Results or claims must fit into the larger scheme of things (web of science). Results must be logical (although it does not have to meet the formal rules of logic). Subject matter or content must be deemed relevant by the community of interested scientists.. A Framework for Science Science is socially conditioned. Science can only undertake what society permits. Nazi doctors experimented on Jewish twins. Current debate over stem cell research. Acceptable in some countries, but not all. Scientific Objectives Science really seeks to reduce our fears. Science seeks to understand and predict. Some science seeks to retrodict (geology). This may not = prediction in reverse from a purely logical standout (abduction). Science consciously sacrifices details for generalization and simplification. simplification. Scientific theory is not seamless, therefore scale-linkage is often difficult. scale- Old View of Science Science and scientists are completely objective (the view from nowhere). Today we recognize that all scientists operate within a theoretical framework and therefore have bias. We must understand our own theoretical perspective to understand our bias and to know the limitations of our theory. Your View Your own view of the world, including science, is preconditioned. Some things you must account for in this course are: Your First World background. Your socio-economic status. socioYour religion (including no religion). Your political philosophy. An Important Suggestion Many environmental problems are not amenable to purely technical solutions. Nor is it just a matter of enough money. Political and social decisions will have to be made. This will almost certainly include moral and ethical decisions. Your own lifestyle and how you use your (political/social) influence will count. 2 ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course GEOG 210 taught by Professor Thorn during the Spring '08 term at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

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